Thursday, November 10, 2011

Interviewing, not Dating

I was helping a student prepare for a job interview. Obviously I looked over the "official" paperwork needed, such as the resume. We checked that all the keywords necessary for this type of job were present on the resume and that the requisite references were actually going to be of benefit to him.

After that we did a practice run for the interview itself. Again, obviously, we worked on how to answer the "What is your biggest weakness?" question that interviewers all ask, as well as all the other strange questions that are now part of the interview process.

I had checked out the company the student was interviewing with, and it basically uses a three-interview process. After interview three you are either in or you aren't getting hired. Some companies may only use a two-interview process; a few require more, with a number of people within the company.

After the student left it came to me that shidduch dating today definitely resembles the job interview process, in the "paperwork" that has to be filled out in excrutiating detail, in the strange questions that can be asked during the dating "interviews," in the required references, and in the shortness of the whole process. Many people advise those in the dating parshah to avoid raising any personal issues or giving personal family information until the initial interviewing is completed and you are pretty much guaranteed the "job." And shidduch dating is like job interviewing in this aspect also: at the end of X number of dates you are either getting engaged or you're ending the connection.

Sorry, but I believe that equating marriage with getting a job is part of the problem with the shidduch process today. Maybe many years ago people who applied for a job were hoping to stay with the same company for their whole working lifetime. Today such an expectation won't be met. The estimate is, for someone entering the work world today, that they can expect to have anywhere from 13 to 24 jobs during their working lifetime. Longevity in the workplace is not a given.

There is also this: should a company be unhappy with someone they have just hired, should the fit be wrong, there is no problem in letting that employee go. Ditto should the employee find that he/she doesn't like working in that particular company. "Business employment divorce" is so common that it raises nobody's eyebrows.

When we treat shidduch dating as if it were a job interview, we shouldn't be surprised at the quickness of the process; after all, should the employee not work out it's simple to get rid of them. It's no coincidence that the divorce rate in the frum population has gone up, nor that broken engagements are far more common today than ever before. Nor is it a surprise that many "employees" and "employers" are not happy within their relationship.

If we insist on a business metaphor for dating, then we need to pick a more useful metaphor. Getting married is not becoming someone's "employee." Getting married is about establishing a "business" and needing a partner to do so. Getting married is about believing that the business may start out small but will grow over time and develop strength. Getting married is about learning how to compromise and learning when you can't compromise, all for the good of the business. Getting married is about expending a lot of time and effort in keeping a relationship working so the business won't fail.

Maybe instead of shadchanim and the whole ridiculous dating rigamarole that we put our singles through today, we should hand over the whole thing to some experts in the field of independent business establishment. They couldn't do a worse job than is already being done using the employee/employer job interview process in place now.


JS said...

Kinda sad how many good analogies you were able to find between the two. Even sadder because with a job the saying is "it's business, not personal" whereas with dating it should all be about the personal.

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